Author Topic: Gonna visit an Endocrinologist, what shall i check  (Read 3350 times)

Offline saile

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Hypo or somebody else who has a good insight in hormone imbalances, what values should I tell the endo to checkup?

I'll just take whatever advice you give in this thread and print it out and tell the endo to test for.



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Here is a cut-n-paste I found for male blood tests.

• Total Testosterone
• Bioavailable Testosterone (AKA "Free and Loosely Bound")
• Free Testosterone (if Bioavailable T is unavailable)
• Estradiol (specify the "sensitive" assay for males)
• LH
• Prolactin
• Cortisol
• Thyroid Panel
• Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
• Lipid Profile
• PSA (if over 40)
• IGF-1 (if HGH therapy is being considered)


Two weeks after initiating a transdermal, or five weeks after the
first IM injection:

• Total Testosterone
• Bioavailable Testosterone
• Free Testosterone (if Bioavailable T is still unavailable)
• Estradiol (specify the Extraction Method, or "sensitive" assay for males)
• DHT (especially if patient is using a transdermal delivery system)
• FSH (3rd Generation—ultrasensitive assay this time)
• Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
• Lipid Profile
• PSA (for more senior patients)
• IGF-1 (if GH Therapy has been initiated already)



This is the assay your patients will most focus on. It's also the
one physicians who do not understand TRT will use to deny patients
the testosterone supplementation they want, and need, when Total T
is at low-normal levels. Total T is important for titration of
dosing, but its relevance is reduced in older men (by virtue of
their increased serum concentrations of SHBG), in favor of:


Where we actually get the "bang" for the hormonal buck, so to speak.
This is the actual amount the body has available for use, as the
concentration of hormone available within the capillary beds
approximates the sum of the Free Testosterone plus that which is
loosely bound to carrier proteins, primarily albumin. If Bio T is
not readily available, Free T may be a second choice substitute, as
Bio T and Free T serum concentrations are well correlated.


This assay is especially important to draw, up-front and at follow-
up, if a transdermal testosterone delivery system is preferred by
the patient. I'll explain why later. DHT level may also help
indicate cause for ED symptoms.


There are several reasons why this assay is VERY important, and
should not be ignored in ANY hypogonadism work-up (or subsequent
regimen). First, you definitely need to draw a baseline. Next,
elevated estrogen can, in and of itself, explain hypogonadal
symptoms. If E is elevated, controlling serum concentrations
(usually with an aromatase inhibitor, which prevents conversion of T
into E) may suffice in clearing the symptoms of hypogonadism. And
finally, rechecking it after beginning the initial dose of
testosterone will give the astute physician valuable information as
to how the patient's individual hormonal system functions, as well
as making sure estrogen does not elevate inappropriately secondary
to the testosterone supplementation.

I don't waste time and money drawing estrone and estriol. E2 is the
player of interest here. Unless you specify a `sensitive' assay for
male patients, the lab will run the Rapid Estradiol for fertility
studies in females, which is useless for our purpose here. Quest
Diagnostics calls this their Estradiol by Extraction Method.

Some practitioners believe that it is only the T/E ratio which is
significant, and therefore, as long as E "appropriately" rises with
elevations in T, all is well. However, the absolute concentration of
E is of concern, too, especially in light of new information
pointing to elevated estrogen as cause, or adjunctively encouraging,
several serious disease processes, including prostate and colon


As everyone knows, it is LH which stimulates the Leydig cells of the
testes to produce testosterone. A caveat, however: LH has a half-
life of only about 30 minutes. When you combine this fact with the
absolute pulsatile nature of its pituitary release, care must be
taken to not place too much weight upon a single draw. A luxury
would be to acquire serial draws, say, twenty minutes apart.
However, such would be both inconvenient and probably prohibitively
expensive for the patient. The most important reason to assay the
gonadotrophins is to differentiate between primary and secondary
(hypogonadotrophic) hypogonadism.


The eight hour half-life of this hormone makes it a better marker
for gonadotrophin production. It is also less an acute phase
reactant to varying serum androgen and estrogen levels than LH.
Greatly elevated FSH levels could signal a gonadotrophin-secreting
pituitary tumor.

Of note, I run FSH (but not LH) on the follow-up labs, the new third
generation ("sensitive") assay, to determine the magnitude of HPTA
suppression secondary to androgen therapy. It also provides valuable
information for those patients undergoing TRT who are interested in
the state of their fertility.


A very important hormone, and must not be overlooked on initial work-
up. Approaching five percent of hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism is
associated with hyperprolactinemia, due to inhibition of
hypothalamic release of LHRH. Its serum concentration must be
maintained within physiological range (meaning neither too high nor
too low). Greatly elevated hyperprolactinemia, or hyperprolactinemia
plus a Total Testosterone less than 150ng/dL, equals a trip to an
Endocrinologist for an MRI of the sella turcica.


True Anti-Aging medicine must be well-familiarized with the ins and
outs of this hormone, the only one our bodies cannot live without.
Elevated levels can cause secondary (hypogonadotrophic)
hypogonadism. I try controlling elevated cortisol with
Phosphatidylserine, 300mg QD, with good results. It is just as
important to watch for depressed cortisol levels, as well. The assay
of choice for that condition is a 24-hour urine.


I have, for my own convenience, omitted the specifics of the
obligatory thyroid function panel you certainly will want to run.
Hypothyroidism mimics hypogonadism in several of its effects.


This is just good medicine. Ruling out anemia is important, of
course, as it may be a cause for the fatigue which brought the
patient into your office. You also want to establish baseline H&H,
for those rare cases where polycythemia becomes a problem (and we
are reminded smokers are at increased risk for polycythemia). Above
18.0/55.0 TRT is withheld, and therapeutic phlebotomy recommended.


Again, just good medicine. Baseline for sodium (which may elevate
initially secondary to androgen supplementation) is important. We
also want to see LFT's, as elevations in same secondary to androgen
supplementation are listed as a possible side effect in the product
literature (although I have yet to see this actually happen). I like
the BUN/creatinine ratio as a marker for hormonal hemo-
concentration, and also it gives me a hint of how compliant the
patient will be (because I always tell them to make sure to drink
plenty of water while fasting for the test).

Lipid Panel

This is drawn to provide your bragging rights when you drop the CHOL
30 points, thanks to your own good administration of TRT. You should
expect to see lowered TRIG and LDL's, too. Be advised, this will not
happen if you choose to elevate their androgens above the top
of "normal" range, i.e. providing what amounts to an anabolic
steroid cycle. Of course, this would no longer constitute TRT, as
the practitioner would then be choosing to damage the health and
well-being of the patient.

HDL does frequently drop a bit, but that is believed to be due to
increased REVERSE cholesterol transport; so much of the plaque is,
after being scavenged from the lining of the CV system by HDL, now
being chewed up by the liver. Androgens also elevate hepatic lipase,
and this may have an effect. The important thing to keep in mind is
that TRT inhibits foam cell formation.


For all patients over 40. Even though prostate CA is rare in men
under the age of fifty, we don't want it happening on our watch, do
we? At this time, rises in PSA above 0.75 are a contraindication to
TRT (until follow-up by a Urologist). You may find that, at the
initiation of TRT in older men, when serum androgen levels are
accelerating, PSA may, too. This is especially true when transdermal
delivery systems are employed, because they more greatly elevate
DHT. Once T levels have stabilized, PSA drops back down to roughly
baseline. You won't really see gross elevations in PSA secondary to
TRT administration in younger patients. New TRT patients need to be
cautioned, and reminded, to abstain from sexual relations prior to
the draw, as they may now be enjoying greatly elevated amounts of same.

I get a PSA up front on my over 40 patients, at the one month follow-
up in my more senior patients, and every six months after that. DRE
(Digital Rectal Exam) is recommended twice per year as well,
although the American Academy of Clinical Endocrinologists
backs "every six to twelve months" in their 2002 Guidelines for
treating hypogonadotrophic patients with TRT.


For those who are considering the addition of GH to their Anti-Aging
regimen. IGF-1 will rise from testosterone supplementation, and vice
versa. Let's grab a baseline now, before that happens.


CO-MORBIDITIES. Currently, only breast and active prostate cancer
are absolute contraindications for TRT. Patients with serious
cardiac, hepatic or renal disease must be monitored carefully due to
possible edema secondary to sodium retention. Also, TRT may
potentiate sleep apnea in some chronic pulmonary disease patients,
although studies have also shown it can actually ameliorate the
symptoms of sleep apnea.

DRUG INTERACTIONS. TRT decreases insulin or oral diabetic medication
requirements in diabetic patients. It also increases clearance of
propranolol, and decreases clearance of oxyphenbutazone in those
receiving such medications. TRT may increase coagulation times as


Now we have to decide, TOGETHER with our patient, what form of
testosterone delivery system we will START with. There are two basic
subsets of same—transdermals and injectables. Here are the current


The only way to go, in my professional opinion, if physician and
patient prefer a compounded transdermal delivery system. They are easy to
apply, well absorbed, and rapidly establish stable serum androgen
levels (usually by the end of the second day). I recommend all
practitioners first try a testosterone gel for their TRT patients.

Much is made of the risk posed by accidental transferal of
testosterone to others, such as children or sexual partners. Simply
covering with a T-shirt has been shown to block transfer of the
hormone. The testosterone sinks into the skin within an hour, which
acts as the actual reservoir for the hormone's delivery. One may
then shower, or even swim, without worry. I remind my patients that
most of us have neither the time, nor the opportunity, for romance
until evening (given the recommended early morning application), and
a quick shower is always nice to "freshen up" then anyway.

Gels and creams, like all transdermal delivery systems, provide a
bigger boost in DHT levels, compared to injectable testosterone
preparations. This can be a double-edged sword. As DHT is
responsible for all the things of manhood, the transdermals are
better at treating ED than the injectables. However, issues of hair
loss and possible prostate morbidity (a contentiously debatable
point, to be sure) then come into play. Either way, please make sure
to monitor DHT with the transdermals. I'm just not comfortable with
gross elevations in DHT, and prefer to avoid adding finasteride
whenever possible.

Some have reported an increase in hair growth over the application
area(s). All physicians who administer TRT must be prepared to
disappoint their patients at this time by pointing out, sadly, this
same effect cannot be achieved on the scalp.


These can be quite effective, but are inconvenient to use.
Approaching 2/3's of your patients will develop a contact dermatitis
from them at some point. Another drawback is that some patients
report they are constantly aware of their placement, and the patches
are embarrassingly obvious to other gentlemen in certain public
places, such as in the locker room.

The scrotal application variety is the most inconvenient. To see
what I would be putting my patients through, I tried them. After
just a couple days, I'd had more than enough. Men do not generally
enjoy shaving their scrotum, and the patches just do not stay on
well anyway. Applying a hair dryer to the patch, as they must be
warmed first, is also an annoyance. If you go to the gym during the
day, they look strange affixed to the genitals, and must be removed,
then reapplied, to shower. They do not stick well in the first
place, and even less so once they have been reapplied. Of the two
options, I found only the type with the extra adhesive had any
chance of remaining in place. The scrotal variety causes the largest
increases in DHT—which can be good or bad, as previously explained.


In my opinion, their use is absolutely Stone Age. Sure, they can
provide extra revenue by virtue of a billable office based
procedure. However, needlessly exposing patients to the risks ALL
surgeries pose—hemorrhage and infection—is unwarranted. And the area
of insertion will be much tenderer than that following a mere IM
injection. But the real issue which selects against pellet
implantation is concerned with dosing. Let's say you establish
a "usual" initial dose for the pellets. As will be described in the
next section, there is absolutely no way to predict, up front, how a
patient will react to a given dose of testosterone, regardless of
the delivery system. So you bury these pellets in your patient's
backside, and (hopefully) draw follow-up labs in a month or so. What
are you to do if the total testosterone ends up greatly exceeding
the top of normal range (meaning the patient hyper-responded to the
treatment)? Now you must make a much wider incision to remove them,
or a portion of them (and who knows how many to take out?). With
their very long half-life, SOMETHING must be done, lest you risk
actually damaging the health of the patient by elevating
testosterone levels into what might be considered a bodybuilding
steroid cycle. And what if the pellets do not elevate T enough? You
must bring them back in to implant more, and it's difficult to sell
them on this idea, since they probably are not yet feeling the
advantages of TRT enough yet to motivate them into undergoing
another surgical procedure. It just doesn't make sense, to my way of
Testosterone pellets do have some benefit in that selected patients
may believe it more convenient to come in every month or six weeks,
and then be done with it for a while. Also, because they release T
in a slow, steady rate, the pellets are less likely to induce
increases in aromatase activity.


I'll start out by describing the drawbacks of IM testosterone. They
are inconvenient for patients who do not wish to give themselves
their own injections, as they must then make weekly trips to your
office for same. Why IM test MUST be dosed weekly will be described
in detail in another section. Some patients, as you well know, just
hate shots (although I have noticed several who had initially
claimed this, but admitted, once they had come to enjoy the benefits
of TRT, actually came to look forward to their weekly injection).
And no doubt, an invasive delivery system brings more risk than, for
instance, a testosterone gel or cream (the other best choice for

When considering dosing of testosterone cypionate, it is important
to remember that, due to the weight of the cypionate ester, a 100mg
injection delivers, at best, 70mg of testosterone. This is important
to keep in mind when comparing the effects of a 100mg weekly
injection of test cyp to the 35mg total dose provided by Androgel
5gms QD over the same period.

If low testosterone, start with


Many practitioners consider this incredible hormone treatment of
choice for hypogonadotrophic (secondary) hypogonadism. Such certainly makes sense, as supplementing with a LH analog indeed increases testosterone production in patients who do not concurrently suffer primary hypogonadism. But often, upwards of 1000IU per day must be given to achieve the desired serum T level. Even then, for some unexplained reason, while serum T levels may be adequately elevated, the patients simply do not report realization of the benefits of TRT, when HCG is administered as sole TRT. You also run the risk of inducing LH insensitivity at that dosage, and therefore may actually cause primary hypogonadism while attempting to treat secondary hypogonadism. HCG, especially at higher doses, also dramatically increases aromatase activity, thus inappropriately elevating estrogens.

Personally, I recommend never giving more than 500IU of HCG at a time.*

A real benefit of HCG is that it will prevent testicular atrophy. I do not think we should ignore the aesthetics of that consideration. Your patients will feel the same way.

Compounded testosterone cream or gel is usually the least expensive.

Offline hypo

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From Dr John C if I am not mistaken Gine2D?

The information looks good.


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I am not sure where I copied it from.  I originally got it for one of my sons to take to the endo on his first trip for blood tests as a baseline for the future.

I guess I should have kept the name for giving credit.

Offline saile

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uhm that copy paste looks like its not really related to gyne tho?
i mean, all i need is to know what substances to screen for in order to find an underlying cause to gyne, or atleast know that im outof risk for regrowth in case i go for a surgery.


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